Cinema Review: Over Your Dead Body | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Over Your Dead Body

Studio: Shout! Factory
Directed by Takashi Miike

Jan 05, 2016 Web Exclusive
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The blood comes later. Over Your Dead Body is one of the subtler, atmospheric Miike films. Instead of relying on frenetic insanity and buckets of viscera, this movie sets an uneasy tone where tension slowly crawls to its peak. And even when the payoff comes, it’s somewhat muted even if it’s grotesque.

Miyuki is a stage actor rehearsing for a play based on a Japanese folk tale of a husband betraying his wife for his own social and economic advancement. Her lover, Kosuke, is also her co-star. She plays the scorned wife while he plays the dastardly, selfish husband. Offstage, he begins an affair with another actress and the tensions between fantasy and reality begin to blur.

There are hints about the violence to come. What works so well in the film’s favor is the resistance to give any kind of payoff too early. It’s obviously going to happen, but every scene that pushes it further away is also bringing it slowly closer. The growing tension in its inevitability is effective. Unfortunately, its strength is also its weakness. Miyuki isn’t that interesting. While the scenes of her growing suspicions are integral to the plot’s advancement, it is a tedious chore by the halfway mark. Whenever it leaves the stage production, the narrative falls flat.

But every scene showing rehearsals are great. At times, the camera pulls back to show the crew watching the performance and the rotating stage. This enhances the voyeurism entrenched in a film about performance. Then, the camera goes in tighter and uncertainty swells because it doesn’t seem like it’s supposed to be a play, anymore. The narrative’s lack of footing in reality established at the beginning, and carried throughout these scenes, keeps the movie afloat and helps it get past the dull sojourns outside of the rehearsals.

It doesn’t all hold together, and the very end is a bit of a shrug, but Miike and cinematographer Nobuyasu Kita generate enough visual flourish for it to be worth seeing. Over Your Dead Body is a beautiful mediocrity drenched in tedium and gore.

Author rating: 6/10

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January 5th 2016

” Instead of relying on frenetic insanity and buckets of viscera…”. Have you seen even a majority of Miike’s films? With a few notable exceptions (Ichi, Dead or Alive trilogy), MOST of his films could be comfortably labelled ‘austere’ or ‘slow’. Weird, sure. But implying that his work is typically frenetic/gory is super dismissive, super inaccurate and demonstrates a lack of familiarity with Miike’s filmography.

November 2nd 2018

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